"The List" 2013/2014: Accomplishments - Part 1

I did it! I met my goal! Altogether, I accomplished 26 items from my 2013/2014 List - 25 original items and one "bonus" item. That said, I have been horrible about sharing my accomplishments and adventures here on TwentyTenThirty, so to make up for it, I'm serving up a 2-part snapshot-style write-up to knock them all out. Let's do this!

Part 1

2. Take a Saxophone lesson: I'd been wanting to tackle this one for YEARS! I originally picked up the Alto Sax in 6th grade (or maybe 7th?) and I played for about 4 years before "retiring." I kept my saxophone over all these years, vowing to one day play again, and in August of 2013, I began taking lessons. I picked it up pretty fast, and enjoyed having a creative outlet and a release from the long and hectic consulting hours I was working at the time. I took lessons for about a year (even started learning Jazz!), a year in which I got engaged and planned a wedding and started a new role at work, and...well...I pretty much got the Saxophone out of my system as other priorities nudged their way to the forefront. Maybe I'll pick it up again someday, but for now I'm no longer "bringing Saxy back" (bahahaa! funny!) and my instrument is once again placed on the back burner.

6. See Book of Mormon: B and I completed this one together (he got tix thru a lottery at work), and it was such rambunctious, politically incorrect fun! I wrote about it here.

9. Visit Italy: B and I enjoyed an unbelievable 2 week vacation in Italy in May 2013. During our trip, we visited Rome, Positano and Florence (including day trips to nearby Pisa and Greve) and had some amazing adventures in each destination. Throughout our trip, I journaled our adventures in great detail - over 75 pages worth. But for purposes of documenting here, I'll spare you the 75 page run down and instead share this photo I took inside the Flavian Amphitheater in Rome, more commonly known as the Colosseum. Our tour gave us access to areas that many people don't get to see, including views from the hypogeum (underground), which is where this photo was taken.

That's me in Rome in 2013, in the hypogeum (underground) of the Colosseum.

15. Participate in a murder mystery dinner party: B and I completed this one in early 2013 for HRLs birthday. Such a fun and unique experience, and the full write up is here.

27. Visit Duluth: OK. Let me set the stage. It's New Year's Eve, leading into 2014. We're Way Up North in Duluth, ready to tackle the slopes with our friends. But, Mother Nature has other plans. It's 30 below -- and that's before factoring in the windchill! So, no skiing for us. Still, we had fun in Duluth in our cabin house right on the water.

28. Rent a cabin “up north”: Technically, I've tackled this one twice -- as a part of the above-mentioned Duluth trip, and previously for our early 2013 Wisco Ski Adventure. You'll find a link to that a few items below - #38 "Go Downhill Skiing."

30. Go ice skating: Turns out, I'm terrible at ice skating. B and I went last winter, and I've promised to go again this coming winter, but boy do I suck. The Depot Ice Rink here in downtown MPLS where we went to skate (and will probably go again this year) is pretty cool though.

32. Get out of credit card debt...once and for all!: I'm VERY proud of this one, and I pulled off this feat in 2013. I really owe this accomplishment a much more in-depth write-up than it's going to get here. But, for now I'll just say I racked up a lot of credit card debt in my early adulthood, a result of a strange combination of true necessity and sheer stupidity. After getting my sh** together and toiling through a long period of of careful budgeting and detailed financial planning, I cleaned up that mess. While I'm not proud of getting into debt, I am very proud of taking responsibility and getting out of it on my own. In the process I've emerged as a master saver, and am all-around much more savvy with my finances. My carefully cultivated financial prowess (combined with B's natural saving savvy) even helped us to pay for our pretty nice (if I do say so myself) fall 2014 wedding outright with no lingering debt.

38. Go downhill skiing: Turns out, B's a natural! It's been fun reconnecting with my downhill skiing roots. We'll stick to the Midwest for one more season, and in 2016 I want to introduce B to some "real" skiing out west! Check out my Wisco Ski Adventure entry for details.

41. Visit wine country: During our 2013 Italy trip, B and I visited one of the ULTIMATE wine countries, drinking our way through the wine region of Chianti in Tuscany, not too far outside of Florence (Firenze). We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day for our semi-private tour. Our tour included visits to two incredible (and incredibly different) wineries for lessons and tastings, an impressive lunch (with amazing country views!) at Osteria dell'ignorante, and a stop in Greve, considered the unofficial wine capital of Chianti region. The first winery we visited, Castello di Poppiano, is owned by the famed Guicciardini family, and is located in a real, Medieval castle with breathtaking 360 views. This stop included an olive oil tasting as well. The second winery we visited, Solatione, is much smaller, and family run and its unbeatable Chianti Classico wines are not currently available in the states. Both were amazing, and we picked up several bottles at each location. Here is a photo of me at the Castello.

Castello di Poppiano. Is this heaven?

42. Visit my sister in El Paso: B and I spent Thanksgiving 2013 in El Paso visiting my sister and brother-in-law. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting White Sands in NM. The sands were covered in snow, and we had a blast going sledding down the dunes. Here's a pic from our White Sands adventure!

B and me at White Sands doing our Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles impression. Heroes in a half shell!

44. Practice yoga “consistently” (average one or more class a week for at least  8 weeks): Earlier this year in late February, I decided to get back into a regular yoga practice. I found terrific and inviting little studio, right here in Uptown called Your Yoga, and was going 3-4 times a week for a while. I've attended a handful of studios over the years, and this one is the best I've experienced. I fell out of routine this fall (I was only a little busy with the wedding and whatnot, you know), but am now getting back into the groove once again. Meditation, peace, strength and endurance all rolled into one. What's not to love?

45. Complete 21 Day Sugar Detox: I'm so proud of this accomplishment, and I wrote about my progress daily as I experienced this one. You can read a summary of my detox experience here.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming out tomorrow, 12/31!